JFCS Holocaust Center Preisler Shorenstein Institute for Holocaust Education
The Educator Leadership Council’s mission is to unify a group of educators from across the state of California to expand the impact of educational programming in the fields of Holocaust and genocide studies in order to cultivate empathy and moral courage in the next generation of student leaders.
The Educator Leadership Council advises on the curriculum and professional development of the JFCS Holocaust Center and the California Teachers Collaborative for Holocaust and Genocide Education. The Council is comprised of select California teachers with instructional expertise in Holocaust education, genocide studies, antisemitism, racism, and human rights.
Tracy Cooper Bryant
Canyon Crest Academy, San Diego County
Tracy Cooper Bryant brings nearly three decades of experience incorporating anti-bias curriculum, promoting positive mental health, and teaching with an antiracist lens. She is proud of her 12 years of No Place For Hate work, which has incorporated Holocaust survivors, the Butterfly Project, the Rice Experience, and the Innocence Project. She has taken students to educational sites such as the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, the Museum of Tolerance, and the National Civil Rights Museum. She currently teaches AP psychology at Canyon Crest Academy and is the District Coordinator for Social Studies for the San Dieguito Union High School District. Prior, Tracy served on her school’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion team. She continues to support district professional development and curriculum writing. Tracy’s main goals are to maintain a growth mindset and advocate as an educational leader for historically underrepresented students.
Michael Sepidoza Campos
Schools of the Sacred Heart, San Francisco County
Michael Sepidoza Campos teaches at Convent & Stuart Hall, Schools of the Sacred Heart San Francisco. In Ethics, he guides his students to explore the correlation between personhood and citizenship as they interrogate exclusionary conditions, focusing on the Holocaust and Japanese-American internment, given their direct bearing on members of their learning community. His work in the classroom both informs and is shaped by his research at the intersection of Filipino-American diaspora, post-colonialism, queer theory, and critical pedagogy. In addition to high school teaching, Campos is an adjunct professor in the Theology and Religious Education Department of De La Salle University Manila.
Miwok Middle School, Sacramento County
Jody Cooperman has been working as an educator since 2001. She was originally a social worker for Alta California Regional Center with a specialty in serving Deaf individuals before becoming a teacher. Her true love is teaching English and U.S. history to middle school students, specifically 8th graders who are preparing for high school. The culminating event for her students is a living history field trip to Boston, Massachusetts where the making of America happened. Students also visit the Holocaust memorial in Boston where they each lay stones as a final component of their Holocaust study. Jody volunteers as a fellow for the Central Valley Holocaust Educators’ Network (CVHEN) where she provides workshops and helps to plan events for Kristallnacht, Yom Hashoah and other community learning opportunities. Teaching students and teachers about the Holocaust has been her mission and something she will continue in her upcoming retirement.
Clark Magnet High School, Los Angeles County
Born and raised in Glendale, Patrick Davarhanian is an Armenian American educator that has worked in the field of education for more than a decade. Patrick attended CSUN where he received his BA, teaching credentials and two MA of Education degrees in elementary and secondary education. After graduating from CSUN he returned to his local high school and is currently a social science teacher and the department chair at Clark Magnet. Through his work as an educator and mentor teacher, Patrick has learned how to advocate for his students and support his colleagues. Patrick has championed the adoption of inclusive social science standards and curriculum that elevates diverse voices. He created an annual FAIR Act display which highlights the contributions of minorities through monthly themed displays. And he established Glendale Unified School District’s first ever Ethnic Studies course designed to empower students while providing them with a platform for civic engagement.
Le Lycee Francais de Los Angeles, Los Angeles County
Brian Edwards has been a passionate educator since 2001, and has served in several educational settings, from public schools in suburban communities, to charter schools in the inner city. His extensive background with the French language has led him to his current post as a faculty member and administrator at Le Lycée Français de Los Angeles. Brian holds a degree in African American Studies from California State University, Northridge, a certificate in French Language and Phonetics from the Sorbonne Université in Paris, and a MA in teaching from the University of Southern California. He teaches a wide range of courses, such as medieval history, U.S. History, World History and AP African American Studies.
Piner High School, Sonoma County
Hec utha eh ma, wigthin Donna Fernandez, a Elem buk wimeshek kobited wimieh Elem buk. Donna Fernandez, M.Ed. is Pomo from Elem Indian Colony in Clearlake Oaks, CA. She is a National Board Certified Teacher of Mathematics for Adolescents and Young Adults. Donna has earned a MA in Education degree in Advanced Teaching from the University of the People. She holds a BA in Mathematics and a BA in Native American Studies from the University of California, Davis. Donna has 19 years of teaching Mathematics at the secondary level. She is currently teaching in Santa Rosa, CA. Her purpose is to inspire students to enjoy Mathematics and pursue STEM. Donna is also a Co-Director of the Alliance of Indigenous Math Circles which promotes engaging mathematics for equity and enjoyment.
El Camino High School, San Diego County
Joe Gonzales has worked in the Oceanside School District for over 28 years. He began his careers working with students who were up for expulsion from the district, keeping his students current in their courses and mentor them to go before the School Board of Education to explain why they should be allowed to stay and continue their education in the OUSD school system. He then started teaching at El Camino High School. He has taught Psychology and U.S. History, and for the last 10 years, U.S. Government and Economics. He also helped to create the Ethnic Studies curriculum for his district and taught the original classes for two years. He is presently enrolled in the Ethnic Teachers Certificate program for California. Joe is proud to be part of El Camino High’s Veterans Celebration, one of the longest-running Veterans Celebration programs in California.
Dr. Kintay Johnson
Redwoods Community College District, Humboldt & Del Norte Counties
Dr. Kintay Johnson is the Director of Student Equity and the Multicultural & Equity Center (MEC) at College of the Redwoods (CR) in Eureka, CA. He graduated from College of the Redwoods in 2005 and Humboldt State University in 2008. Dr. Johnson received his MA in Education in 2013 and his PhD in Higher Education Leadership in 2019. He has 20 years of progressive experience working in education. He strongly advocates for creating community on campus, a home away from home for students, a safe place for cultural expression, cross-cultural learning, access to college and dignity resources, and social justice work opportunities. Dr. Johnson is involved in his community as a youth mentor, President of the Eureka Branch #1036 of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and a board member for several nonprofits.
Orinda Intermediate School, Contra Costa County
For the past 31 years, Suzy Kisch has taught mostly 7th grade Core, a blend of both History and Language Arts, and enjoys seeing her students grow and learn in an academic and social setting. She is inspired by her students as she watches them discover joy in learning, become more adept at problem-solving and being resourceful, and connect past events with their world today. Suzy also acknowledges the importance of collaborating with others involved in education to support this process. Her dedication to teaching is perfectly summarized by Ellen Browning Scripps: “The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.” Suzy hopes every educator can live and teach with this wisdom in mind.
Mendocino College, Mendocino County
Phillip Lenberg is currently the Music Director of the Ukiah Symphony Orchestra, and a Professor of Music at Mendocino College. He has taught music at San Francisco State University and the French American International School in San Francisco. Phillip has also served as the Assistant Conductor of the Las Vegas Philharmonic and the Henderson Symphony Orchestra while teaching at the University of Nevada. Phillip has premiered many new works from emerging composers, and was recently a finalist in three categories of The American Prize for Music. His own music has been performed by ensembles including Da Capo Chamber Ensemble, Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, and the California Orchestra Directors Association. Before receiving his MA and PhD in orchestral conducting from the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, Phillip pursued his BA at the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music and SUNY Stony Brook. Throughout his career and studies, Phillip has emphasized Holocaust education through music. He took a leadership role at the first Summer Institute of the CA Teachers Collaborative for Holocaust and Genocide Education in June of 2023.
Point Arena High School, Mendocino County
Lillian McFarland has been teaching history for 17 years. Originally from Florida, where she was educated and began her teaching career, she now teaches on the rural northern coast of Mendocino County in a small high school of 150 students. She is passionate about teaching history accurately in a way that motivates students to explore topics more deeply and become advocates for a better future. She believes that teaching the realities of the past, even if they are difficult to hear, is vital to students’ understanding of history and the only way we can prevent future atrocities from occurring. As a leader in her school district, she is bringing these ideas and resources to her colleagues at both her site as well as the feeder middle schools.
The Athenian School, Contra Costa County
Born and raised in northern California, Stephanie McGraw has been teaching high school students at The Athenian School since 2001. Stephanie received her BA in English from UC Berkeley and her MA in History from Sonoma State University. Passionate about developing a project-based, interdisciplinary curriculum, Stephanie teaches a wide range of courses, such as U.S. History, Women’s Literature, and Understanding Elections. Her most popular course, The Holocaust, engages students in an in-depth, semester-long study of history surrounding the Holocaust. One of the goals of this course is to help students understand that it’s the responsibility of citizens in a democracy to learn to identify the danger signals of governmental abuses of power and to know when (and how) to react. Stephanie has taught at the JFCS Holocaust Center’s Day of Learning and was a Fellow in the Global Holocaust Educators’ Pilot Program. She has been a member of the Holocaust Center’s Educator Leadership Council since its inception.
Milken Community School, Los Angeles County
Wendy Ordower has been the director of Service Learning at Milken Community School for 19 years. Currently, she orchestrates programming for students in grades 6 – 12. In her role, she strives to purposefully integrate service into the curriculum by aligning authentic service experiences with student interests. She is passionate about Holocaust and genocide education and has partnered with organizations like the Holocaust Museum of Los Angeles, the American Jewish Committee and the Italian Consulate for student programming surrounding International Holocaust Remembrance Day and Yom HaShoah.
Big Pine High School, Inyo County
Pete Schlieker has been a life-long learner, having taught himself to read in kindergarten. After high school graduation, Pete went to college in Walnut, California to get an AA degree in Political Science. Pete opted to change his major to a FIRE degree (Finance, Insurance and Real Estate). He left school to get married and raise three kids before returning back to school. While working in the cable industry as a General Manager, Pete worked with the Mammoth Unified School District superintendent on a cable industry sponsored program, Cable in the Classroom. The superintendent suggested that Pete become a teacher. Pete went back and got his teaching credential and has been teaching for 24 years at Big Pine High School. His interest has always been history. Pete exposes his students to multiple perspectives in history and encourages them to use critical thinking to build a deep understanding of historical issues in order to prevent history from being repeated in the future. His work with genocide studies and experiential education was recently featured in an article through The J.
Dr. Andrea Struve
Carlmont High School, San Mateo County
Dr. Andrea Struve has been working in education for 10 years. In 2013, she became the first Manovill University Fellow at the JFCS Holocaust Center, learning how to be a genocide scholar and educator. Following, she continued teaching and learning as both a student and educator in the classroom, earning her MA in Teaching and EdD in International and Multicultural Education with an emphasis in Human Rights Education, and being a high school history and research teacher in the Northern California public schools. She continued her relationship with the JFCS Holocaust Center, returning in 2021 as the Director of Education. In her role, she established the Educator Leadership Council, led the cross organizational team that created the Incident Response Guide for Antisemitism for Bay Area Administrators, and helped to launch the CA Teachers Collaborative for Holocaust and Genocide Education. Andrea is returning to the classroom in 2024 to be in direct service to students, and looks forward to continuing her relationship with JFCS Holocaust Center as a member of the Educator Leadership Council.
Dinuba High School, Tulare County
Tracy Teran has been in the field of education since 2008. She began her career as a lecturer of art, teaching courses in art theory, art appreciation and art history as a faculty member for Clovis Community College and California State University, Fresno. In 2021, Tracy transitioned to apply her higher education knowledge to impact students at the high school level. She is currently is bringing a rich Holocaust and genocide education to her high school students as a Dual Enrollment Instructor for Art Appreciation and a World History teacher at Dinuba High School in Tulare County. She is also a National History Day Club advisor. Her goal as an educator is to provide engaging, relevant and rigorous lessons to meet the needs of all students. Tracy holds a BA in History/Art History from UCLA, an MA in Art, Emphasis Art History from California State University, Long Beach and a Teaching Credential from California State University, Fresno.
Miller Creek Middle School, Marin County
Ingrid Tuchband has been working in education for over 20 years. In 1995, she began working as an elementary school teacher. In 2000, she stopped formally teaching to stay at home with her young children. In 2011, she resumed work at a Catholic school teaching sixth and seventh graders. As a Jewish teacher, she felt welcomed and accepted into the school community. For the past ten years, Ingrid has taught sixth grade at Miller Creek Middle School. Working collaboratively with her team, she continues to develop and deliver curriculum that focuses on social justice and diversity. Ingrid continues to find reading materials that provide windows and mirrors for her students to gain a deeper understanding of themselves and each other.
Sheldon High School, EGUSD, Sacramento County
Jess Vaughn has been teaching English and English Language Development since 2013. The focus of her practice is helping students develop empathy for others and confidence in their own voice through reading and discussing diverse, relatable texts. Through her time as an educator, Jess has served as a teacher leader on a variety of professional learning teams, the English Learner Coordinator, a softball coach, and has partnered with JFCS for 6 years to bring Holocaust survivor testimony to her classroom. Jess was awarded Teacher of the Year in 2019 for the San Lorenzo Unified School District.
Melissa Marie Vineyard
Helios School, Santa Clara County
Melissa Marie Vineyard is currently teaching at Helios School. She has experience teaching at the middle school and university levels, cares deeply about history as a discipline, and passionately embraces the philosophy of the Stanford History Education Group as she brings Holocaust and genocide history into her classroom. Melissa was born in Alaska and raised in Humboldt County, where she received her BA in Humanities through Humboldt State University. She spent a year living in Northern Israel on Kibbutz Dafna as a volunteer, exposing her to the incredibly rich history of the land and inspiring her to study history. Melissa has completed two graduate degrees in medieval history: one from St. Andrews University, Scotland and one from UCLA. She earned her Single Subject Social Studies Teaching Credential at Sonoma State University.
North Salinas High School, Monterey County
As Sara White was working to obtain her teaching certificate, she wanted to make sure that she was aiming to be the type of inspiring teacher she grew up with. Fast forward 9 years, Sara White has been continually making history come alive for students at North Salinas High School. She regularly invites in guest speakers to talk with her students about their lived history. Through experiencing first-hand accounts of different roles and experiences, including WWII veterans, Holocaust survivors, and the former head of the CIA, Sara’s students personally connect with events of the past. Her goal as an educator is to make sure that her students know history and how never to repeat the same mistakes. A lifelong learner and avid conference goer, Sara feels it is important to keep learning new ways to teach history to her students.
For more information about the Educator Leadership Council contact [email protected].
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